Fresh Fresh Fresh

“Liberal” Interpretations

Posted by Michael Dolan on August 26, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Poll after poll shows big government projects have lost public trust. Wide skepticism greets the announcement of any new proposed social program. Can you even remember the last time the federal government tried to fix a social program the way it did in the 1960s, 1970s and into the 1980s? What happened to the liberals?

Now even liberals run away from the term. For a while they called themselves “progressives” but that didn’t work because nobody understood the difference.

Can the diminishment liberal politics trace back to an attack on the term itself?

Liberal writer David Morris of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and ad its initiative on The Public Good, argues persuasively that political opponents first sought to demonize the word in order to undermine the philosophy.

“By the 1990s the word ‘liberal’ had almost become radioactive,” he writes on Alternet. “A famous 1996 GOPAC memo titled, Language: A Key Mechanism of Control offered election campaign advice from Newt Gingrich to Republican candidates. The memo helpfully listed dozens of words candidates should use to promote themselves and denounce their opponents. On the negative list was the liberal along with words like ‘intolerant,’ ‘traitors’ and ‘corrupt.’”


Read it all:

Tags: ,


Political Experts Wrong Again

Posted by Michael Dolan on August 17, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Disdain is the usual tone of political commentators reporting on the latest analysis of Presidential contender Donald Trump’s language.


He typically uses small words in short sentences.


When I teach my college writing classes, I call that style “effective.”


Guess what? The world is not waiting on your every word. You need to get to the point quickly. Trump either knows that and practices the skill or — more likely — he does it naturally. His bombastic style gets him attention so with that positive feedback, he has been honing his short blocky style for years.


Here’s what the website Politico says: “It’s obvious that Trump’s verbal deficit, as grating as it may be on the ears of the educated class, has not caused him much political pain. The media has noted the opposite: Trump’s overreliance on sports and war metaphors in his public utterances, his reductionist, one-dimensional policy prescriptions—including nuanced geopolitical arguments such as get tough with China and Mexico, which are killing us!—inspire trust in many rather than distrust.”


The measurement is widely misunderstood, but Trump’s Reading Ease score is 3rd or 4th grade. That’s the way to reach a mass audience. You want people to understand you on the first pass — not have to outline and take notes.

Read more:

Tags: , ,


Why This Blog Matters

Posted by Michael Dolan on August 15, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Listen to this: “The disintegration of language is sometimes treated as a curiosity or overlooked. But the danger of this corruption is serious, because language must be stable to ensure the exchange of comprehensible ideas.”


That’s from an essay by F.J. Rocca. I never heard of him either. But the essay is interesting.


Judge for yourself:

Tags: ,


Don’t be Fooled Again.

Posted by Michael Dolan on August 15, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Linguist William Lutz, in preparation for the 2016 elections defines double speak and warns what to look out for. Video.

Tags: ,


Language: the purest democracy. So use it.

Posted by Michael Dolan on June 28, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Here’s an interesting article about inventing words.  You can do it.  There are several methods including Grammaticalization and Backformation.


I like Compounding:

manspreading: “I can’t sit on the subway because that dude is manspreading :(”


See the full article here:



Slay this, Heffa!

Posted by Michael Dolan on June 6, 2015 in Uncategorized |

What is “bruh,” “stay woke” or “throw hands”?

Find out in this hilarious list of African-American slang translated for white people on Buzzfeed.” Put your foot in it.

See it:

Tags: ,


Unliberal Speech

Posted by Michael Dolan on May 30, 2015 in Uncategorized |


Strangling free speech and — its sibling open mindedness — is usually associated with conservatives.  Might be time to reconsider.


Commencement speeches remind columnist George Will of several free speech controversies.  “Free speech is more comprehensively and aggressively embattled now than ever before in American history, largely because of two 19th-century ideas,” he says.


Agree or disagree with him, his column in the Washington Post is a useful compendium of recent efforts to stifle free speech — usually at our institutions of “inquiry” and learning.


See it here:



Stop Thinking That

Posted by Michael Dolan on April 15, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Authors and publishers continue to point with pride when they make the American Library Association’s list of most complained about books.  It was 311 books in 2014.


The association said the complaints were about books straying from mainstream thought: “sex, drug use, homosexual themes, politics and offensive language.”


Author of the most complained about book, Sherman Alexie, said he was proud to be on the list for the fourth straight year.  “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” concerns Native American cultural issues.


The fact that three graphic novels made the list shows comic books are becoming a vital part of modern culture, according to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.


See CNN’s report:



Gentrification Never Existed

Posted by Michael Dolan on January 17, 2015 in Uncategorized |

          It’s big undefined blob of a word that obscures rather than illuminates.  Gentrification is a metaphor and a poorly applied one.  Plenty of studiers show it does not exist as people use the term, according to author John Buntin.


          “As for displacement—the most objectionable feature of gentrification—there’s actually very little evidence it happens. In fact, so-called gentrifying neighborhoods appear to experience less displacement than nongentrifying neighborhoods,” he writes.


          His article is well sourced.  Check it out:



Tags: , ,


Don’t Look at that Trade Policy Behind the Curtain

Posted by Michael Dolan on November 22, 2014 in Uncategorized |

Can’t win a political argument?  Then put everyone to sleep in order to get your way.  Details of the new US-EU trade agreement will be public — in 30 years.  This relevant point is buried behind inscrutable acronyms, boring jargon, and trendy words such as “transparency” or “stake-holder.”

“One might be forgiven for concluding from this, and in general from the obfuscatory and often downright misleading bureaucratese in which TTIP’s aims are framed, that they are trying to hide something,” according to Steven Poole writing in the US edition of The Guardian.  “However, the official TTIP literature itself relentlessly invokes the modish political virtue of “transparency”.

See the full clever and informative article here:

Tags: , ,

Copyright © 1970-2015 FRESH: The Blog of Power and Language All rights reserved.
This site is using the Desk Mess Mirrored theme, v2.2.4.1, from